Tuesday, 29 March 2016

DISCOVERY OF WRECKAGE, UNRELIABLE.

This excerpt from a period newspaper refers to comments made by an experienced mariner, circa 1910.

"Well, now you have got me tied up in
a bit of a knot. All I can say is simply
this: It is possible, of course, that she (Waratah)
may still be afloat and adrift, but for my
own part I doubt it. As to the absence of
wreckage on which so many seem to rely as 
a proof that she is still above water, I place
little value on it, and I think that view will be 
endorsed by everyone who has any real 
acquaintance with the history and tragedies
of the sea."


The Harlow account fell short due to lack of wreckage discovered on the coast surrounding Cape Hermes. I am pleased to read that the good mariner 'placed little value on it'. Furthermore wreckage from a position 0.5 miles offshore (image) would initially be carried northeastward, finally retroflecting into the powerful Agulhas Current sweeping southwestward. 

 "I need only say that out of the 144 steamships 
lost in the trans Atlantic trade alone, between 
1838 and 1879 no less than 24 not only failed 
to complete their passages, but left no evidence
as to the cause."


Waratah was by no means unique. 



But circumstances surrounding the loss of the Waratah and conflicting accounts ensured that her mystery survives today, as vivid as it was in 1909.



















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